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Photosynthesis and Respiration

What is the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration?

Why?
Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important cell energy processes. They are connected in ways
that are vital for the survival of almost all forms of life on earth. In this activity you will look at these two
processes at the cellular level and explore their interdependence.

Model 1 – Comparison of Photosynthesis and Respiration
Photosynthesis:
6CO2 + 6H2O + energy → C6H12O6 + 6O2
Sunlight
energy

Chloroplast

CO2 + H2O
Mitochondrion

energy
(ATP)

O2

Glucose

Respiration:
C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy

O2

  1. Refer to Model 1.
a. In what cell organelle does photosynthesis occur?

b. What are three reactants needed for photosynthesis?

c. What are two products of photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis and Respiration

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2. Refer to Model 1.
a. In what cell organelle does cellular respiration occur?
b. What are two reactants needed for cellular respiration?
c. What are three products of cellular respiration?
3. What four substances are recycled during photosynthesis and respiration?
4. What is the one component in photosynthesis that is not recycled and must be constantly
available?
5. Are chloroplasts found in most plant cells? Explain.
6. Are mitochondria found in most plant cells? Explain.
7. Are chloroplasts found in animal cells? Explain.
8. Are mitochondria found in animal cells? Explain.

9. Write a grammatically correct sentence that compares the reactants and products of photosynthesis with the reactants and products of respiration. Be ready to share your sentence with the class.

10. As a group carefully consider and discuss the following statement: “Plants can survive on their
own, because they make their own food. Animals can’t survive on their own but need plants for
survival.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Can you come to a consensus
as a group? Be ready to discuss your group’s response to this statement.

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POGIL™ Activities for High School Biology

11. As a group, make a quick list of the foods that you ate during your last meal. Hypothesize what
would happen to the supply of those foods if the sun’s energy was no longer available.

12. Explain how the energy used by an athlete during a football game comes from the energy of
sunlight.

Photosynthesis and Respiration

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Model 2 – The Carbon Cycle
Atmospheric
CO2

D
C

Auto and
factory
emissions

Respiration

Combustion

B

A

Feedi

Wastes

ng

Death

Decay
(by decomposing fungi, bacteria, and worms)

on

ati

rm

o
lF

ue

lF
ssi

Fo
Carbon Stores
(coal, oil, natural gas)

13. In the Model 2 diagram, place a green star by each process (A, B, C, or D) that represents photosynthesis, and a red star by each process (A, B, C, or D) that represents cellular respiration.
14. Write and label equations for cellular respiration and photosynthesis below. Circle the carbon
dioxide in each. If you need help, see Model 1.

15. When matter from plants and animals decay (rot), microorganisms responsible for the decomposition process respire. Knowing this information, do you need to add any red stars to Model 2?
Explain and add the stars if needed.

4 POGIL™ Activities for High School Biology

16. List any chemical processes other than photosynthesis and respiration that are taking place in
Model 2.

17. Are any of your answers from Question 16 due to human activity? Explain.

18. Ignoring the human actions of auto and factory emissions, what generalization can you make
about the balance of carbon dioxide in Model 2 over a long period of time?

19. How would the burning of fossil fuels upset the balance of the carbon dioxide cycle?

20. Deforestation is another example of human activities that affects the carbon dioxide cycle.
Explain how the cutting down and burning of trees would affect this cycle.

Photosynthesis and Respiration

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Extension Questions
21. Ethanol is one example of alternative fuels for powering our cars and trucks. Ethanol can be
produced in different ways, but most often by microorganisms acting on plant materials such as
corn. Advocates argue that burning ethanol would not alter the net emission of CO2 even though
when ethanol is involved in combustion it produces CO2. What are the pros and cons of
producing and burning ethanol?

22. Electricity consumption is a huge producer of atmospheric carbon dioxide because much of the
USA’s electricity is produced in coal burning power plants. What are three other ways that electricity can be produced that would NOT increase atmospheric carbon dioxide? Which of these
does your group think holds the most promise for the future?

6 POGIL™ Activities for High School Biology